A Niagara Falls woman who suffered a fractured skull and other injuries in a brawl with Cataract City cops has filed notice that she intends to sue the city.

Attorneys for Jaquinda Coleman filed a notice of claim with the city Corporation Counsel on Monday. The filing is the first step that is required for a citizen to begin a lawsuit for damages against a municipality.

Coleman had until May 24 to submit the paperwork.

Acting Corporation Counsel Tom O’Donnell could not be reached for comment on the filing. Falls police Superintendent John Chella said he learned of the filing Tuesday morning.

“I have been monitoring the situation,” Chella said, “the paperwork came in within the time limit. Obviously, based on events, we will handle the criminal offenses first and then we’ll deal with the civil (lawsuit).”

Coleman, 31, 4600 Hyde Park Blvd., Apt. 155, was granted a delay in picking a trial date for her criminal case last week, after her Buffalo-based defense attorney, Joel Daniels, was unable to make a Falls City Court appearance. She has pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and second-degree obstructing governmental administration and will be back in court July 9.

City Court Judge Angelo Morinello declined to reduce Coleman’s $1,000 bail, saying he did not have the authority to do that because the case is on Judge Robert Merino’s calendar and he was just sitting for the hearing last Wednesday.

Coleman was charged after a confrontation on Feb. 24 that followed a police investigation into a domestic incident that involved a relative. She was hospitalized for more than a week as a result of her injuries. So far, she has said little about the police account of what happened.

“I want my story told, but I have to be careful in my comments to the media,” was all she would say in a brief phone conversation with a Gazette reporter in March.

Police say they responded to a report of a man hitting a pregnant woman in an apartment at Monteagle Ridge, an apartment complex in the 4600 block of Hyde Park Boulevard on Feb. 24 and family members, including Coleman, were “yelling at officers to ‘do our job’ and arrest (the woman’s boyfriend).”

Officers said Coleman became agitated after the boyfriend was not charged at the scene and called one officer “an (expletive) racist pig and a Nazi.” Police said Coleman also began yelling, “I don’t have to listen to you. I only listen to God you white supremacist.”

Officers said Coleman fought with them and was eventually sprayed with chemical spray. An officer who said he “was in fear of being tackled by (Coleman)” and feared she would be able to reach the weapons on his gun belt, struck the woman with his flashlight as she charged him.

In a report on the incident, the officer indicated he “swung the flashlight in a downward motion” attempting to hit Coleman in the rear shoulder to knock her off balance and escape her. However, as Coleman came at the officer she was struck in the head.

Coleman was transported to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center for treatment of her injuries, before being transferred to the Erie County Medical Center.

The victim did, later on, press charges against her boyfriend.

Steven D. Newkirk Sr., 37, 114 Dominion Ave., Apt. 1, was charged with second-degree harassment, second-degree aggravated harassment, endangering the welfare of a child and fourth-degree criminal mischief. His case is pending in Falls City Court.

Trending Video

Recommended for you